Parkville board rejects proposed CID slate again in ongoing standoff

During its regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 20, the Parkville Board of Aldermen unanimously denied a slate of candidates for the Parkville Old Towne Market Community Improvement District (CID) board of directors for the second time in as many sessions.

On Sept. 16, the CID board sent an amended slate in response to the board of aldermen’s Sept. 6 rejection (as reported in the Sept. 7 issue of The Citizen). While the new slate did address some of the city’s stated concerns, additional issues remained, according to city clerk Melissa McChesney.

In August, CID chair Tom Hutsler asked for business operator Mark Bentley, property owner Dave Williams and himself, a longtime resident, businessman and property owner, to be appointed as successor directors to the nine-member CID board, with terms expiring in 2020.

Aldermen said there was at least one other open seat on the board, and the slate sent to the city did not address that vacancy. In the rejection letter sent in the wake of the Sept. 6 meeting, city officials said there were discrepancies in the number of appointments and in the number of vacancies that needed to be filled. 

McChesney said the amended slate does include an additional candidate, resident Art Brown. However, the CID’s response still did not address all discrepancies. 

City staff believes there are five vacancies on the board, but the CID board now reports there are only four.

“One of the current members that they have listed — his business has closed and he is not eligible to serve on the community improvement district,” Parkville mayor Nan Johnston said. “In light of that, I don’t see why we would approve (the slate) with another opening on (the board).”

Disagreements between Johnston and Hutsler have also played a prominent role in the board slate refusals. Skirmishes between the city and board have been ongoing since 2010 with the most recent flare-up in 2014 when the board of aldermen refused to confirm a slate of CID board candidates submitted for approval.

Under state statute, the board of aldermen has little control over the actions of the CID board, which acts as its own governing body. What control it does exercise is veto power over proposed slates of board members.

The CID board holds that its 2014 board slate was approved by default due to the inaction of the board of aldermen in 2015, but Johnston considers this CID board invalid.

Previously, Johnston said she wouldn’t approve any slate containing certain members. Earlier this month, she clarified she would not approve any slate with Hutsler on it. Johnston said he reportedly approached property owners in the proposed Highway 9 Community Improvement District to discourage them from joining. 

The city hopes to use funds from a new CID along Hwy. 9 to fund improvements to the highway corridor. 

“Your statement regarding the proposed Route 9 Community Improvement District has no relevance to the appointment of the POTMCID board,” Hutsler said in the letter sent to the city Sept. 16.

Johnston responded at the Sept. 20 meeting, saying Hutsler was “gladly going in there to try to ruin (the new CID).”

“If we don’t have that funding stream for the project then that project will not take place because we do not have another funding mechanism,” Johnston said. “So yes, I do think that has a lot of relevance to him serving on another CID board.”

Johnston said she personally could not support the CID board candidate slate, but that she would follow the will of the board. Alderman Jim Werner told Johnston that he agreed with her and alderman Marc Sportsman moved to reject the slate. The rejection vote was unanimous. 

According to city statute, the CID board has 10 days to submit a new slate of potential directors to the city for approval.

“I imagine they’ll come back with the same thing,” Johnston said. “This is the same game they played last time.”

The board gave Johnston authorization to reject any other slate submitted unless it conformed to city requests.